United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Johnson (“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant
to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act
(“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010),
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying his application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case,
including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final
judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF
No. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his SSI application on September 20, 2012.
(Tr. 12). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to shoulder and ankle problems. (Tr. 168).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of April 15, 2012. (Tr. 12).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 60-71).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
27-59). This hearing was held on June 9, 2014 in Hot Springs,
Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present
and was represented by counsel, Shannon Carroll. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dianne
Smith testified at this hearing. Id. During this
hearing, Plaintiff testified he was fifty-three (53) years
old, which is defined as a “person closely approaching
advanced age” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(d). (Tr.
32). As for his education level, Plaintiff testified he had
received his high diploma. Id.
August 26, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying
Plaintiff’s application for SSI. (Tr. 9-23). The ALJ
found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since September 20, 2012, his
application date. (Tr. 14, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: left rotator
cuff tear/impingement syndrome and lumbar degenerative disk
disease. (Tr. 14-16, Finding 2). The ALJ also determined
Plaintiff’s impairment did not meet or medically equal
the requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in
Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4
(“Listings”). (Tr. 16-17, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 17-21, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 416.967(c) except the claimant is limited to standing
and/or walking for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. The claimant
is also limited to work where there is no frequent overhead
reaching with the left upper extremity.
then evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff had no PRW. (Tr.
21-22, Finding 5). The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 22-23,
Finding 9). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding that issue. Id. Based upon that testimony,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
the following two occupations: (1) laundry worker (medium,
unskilled) with 175, 000 such jobs in the nation; and (2)
hand packager (medium, unskilled) with 450, 000 such jobs in
the nation. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from his alleged onset date through the
date of the ALJ’s decision or through August 26, 2014.
(Tr. 23, Finding 10).
Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. (Tr.
8). On August 18, 2015, the Appeals Council denied this
request. (Tr. 1-4). On September 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed
his Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on September 17,
2015. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF
Nos. 11-12. This case is now ready for decision.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner’s findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010); Ramirez v. Barnhart,
292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner’s decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,
240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). As long as there is
substantial evidence in the record that supports the
Commissioner’s decision, the Court may not reverse it
simply because substantial evidence exists in the record that
would have supported a contrary outcome or because the Court
would have decided the case differently. See Haley v.
Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the ...